Torreyes becoming NY's surprise sparkplug

Torreyes becoming NY's surprise sparkplug

OAKLAND -- The Yankees did not know all that much about Ronald Torreyes this spring, but it didn't take long for the coaching staff to start asking questions about the little guy who kept making loud contact.

Torreyes has been an unlikely sparkplug for the Yankees, making the most of his opportunities after winning a utilityman job out of camp. Torreyes smacked a two-run triple that sparked a five-run fourth inning in the Yankees' 8-3 victory over the A's on Friday.

"Although I'm not playing [regularly], I'm working very hard every day," Torreyes said through an interpreter. "I'm working hard with my hitting coaches. When I'm in the game, I'm trying to make good contact. That's what I'm trying to do, just make good contact and hopefully find a hole and get a hit."

Yankees' five-run inning

The Yankees have used the 23-year-old at third base, shortstop, second base and in right field this season, and manager Joe Girardi said that Torreyes' knack for contributing something each time he is in the lineup has earned him additional looks.

"I think his versatility, we really liked," Girardi said. "I think when we watched him hit in Spring Training, the ball found the barrel is what we saw, and he was consistent in his at-bats. You're never sure how a guy is going to adjust to not playing every day, but I think he's handled it extremely well."

The Yankees' media guide lists Torreyes at 5-foot-10, an estimate that is generous; Torreyes admitted earlier this year that the club may have gifted him two inches, and even that may represent a fudging of the facts.

"Probably his stature is the first thing you looked at," Girardi said. "But you just noticed how he moved around and it seems like he really understood how to play the game, and he would provide you with versatility.

"But I'm going to tell you, the thing that stuck out to me the most was the way he hit the ball. He always found a way to get the barrel on the ball. And it seemed short and simple and it was just really consistent."

The Venezuela native has bounced between five different organizations in the last 12 months (Astros, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Yankees, Angels), making his big league debut with the Dodgers last year before being sent to New York on Jan. 12 with pitcher Tyler Olson for infielder Rob Segedin.

The Yanks nearly lost Torreyes, designating him for assignment on Jan. 15 and watching the Angels claim him, but New York plucked him back on waivers Feb. 1. They're hanging on now, as it looks like Torreyes may have found a home.

"I'm very proud to have the opportunity to contribute to the team, especially when we win the game," Torreyes said. "That's something that is the result of hard work."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.